|Publication number||US7584385 B2|
|Application number||US 11/615,498|
|Publication date||Sep 1, 2009|
|Filing date||Dec 22, 2006|
|Priority date||Dec 22, 2006|
|Also published as||US20080155522|
|Publication number||11615498, 615498, US 7584385 B2, US 7584385B2, US-B2-7584385, US7584385 B2, US7584385B2|
|Original Assignee||Xerox Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (8), Referenced by (3), Classifications (4), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This invention relates generally to customer support, more particularly, to methods and systems for automatic customer support notification of applicable software releases based on fault analysis.
Manufacturers (or developers, suppliers, etc.) of devices such as network printers, copiers, software systems, etc. may be required to provide a customer support team for the users of the devices. A typical user may invest a large sum of money into the device for many years of use from the device. Sometimes, a user may pay additional sums of money for a service contract expecting the manufacturer to keep their respective devices current and functioning.
The manufacturer may also have a product development team (or group, division or the like) to develop new products as well to maintain existing product lines. The product development team may release software updates that correct known problems as well as the addition of new features.
However, the customer support team may struggle with how to get the most pertinent information and/or software from the product development team, especially, if there are multiple releases available. This may be a function of schedules of the two groups, a cultural artifact of the manufacturer, or other similar reason. For example, the product development team may deliver software updates quarterly to support users but may not forward the list of supported users and associated releases to the customer support team for another six months. As a result, the customer support team may not be familiar with newer software updates that correct existing problems. Accordingly, there is a need for a method and system for updating the customer support team with the latest software releases.
An embodiment generally relates to a method of software support. The method includes receiving a request for assistance for a selected device and analyzing an associated fault log for the selected device, where the associated fault log logging at least one fault. The method also includes determining at least one software release for the at least one fault.
Another embodiment generally pertains to a system for customer support. The system includes a database configured to store information associating a plurality of software releases with respective faults and an advisor module configured to interface with the database. The advisor module is configured to receive a fault log from a selected device, where the fault log containing at least one fault. The advisor module is also configured to determine a recommended software release based on the at least one fault.
Various features of the embodiments can be more fully appreciated, as the same become better understood with reference to the following detailed description of the embodiments when considered in connection with the accompanying figures, in which:
For simplicity and illustrative purposes, the principles of the present invention are described by referring mainly to exemplary embodiments thereof. However, one of ordinary skill in the art would readily recognize that the same principles are equally applicable to, and can be implemented in, all types of network systems that execute multiple applications, and that any such variations do not depart from the true spirit and scope of the present invention. Moreover, in the following detailed description, references are made to the accompanying figures, which illustrate specific embodiments. Electrical, mechanical, logical and structural changes may be made to the embodiments without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. The following detailed description is, therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense and the scope of the present invention is defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.
Embodiments generally relate to methods and systems for assisting customer support teams. More particularly, a software advisor may be configured to receive fault logs from devices. The devices may be copiers, scanners, printers, multi-functional devices and the like. The devices may be networked to the software advisor through private data networks, public data networks and/or combinations thereof to receive the fault logs of the supported devices. The software advisor may also be configured to store information related to software release and associated faults. For example, a 3.1 software release for a network color scanner model number X123 may correct a single or a small number of faults related to color mapping.
Accordingly, when a customer support team member answers a call from a supported user of a malfunctioning device, the team member may access the software advisor module. The software advisor module may have already received fault log from the defective machine. Alternatively, the software advisor module may query the defective machine for the fault log. The software advisor module may then analyze the received fault log and associated software releases for the recorded faults.
As shown in
Each device 120 may be accessed and managed by a server (not shown) of an entity using Simple Network Management Protocols (“SNMP”), HyperText Transfer Protocols (“HTTP”) protocols or a combination thereof over the respective private data network 125. The device 120 may be an imaging device such as a printer, copier, scanner, etc., a software system such as middleware, accounting software, etc., or application/device produced and supported by the supplier 110.
As shown in
The processor 205 may also interface with a maintenance agent or applet 225. The maintenance agent 225 may be configured to log or record faults that occur during the operation of the device 120 in the memory 215 as a fault log. The maintenance agent 225 may also be configured to periodically forward the fault log to the supplier of the device 120 (e.g. supplier 110) through the network interface 230. The fault log may contain information such as the error code of a fault, the time of occurrence, the serial number of the device 120, current software version of the device, etc. Alternatively, the supplier 110 may query the maintenance agent 225 for the fault log using SNMP commands, HTTP commands or combinations thereof to retrieve the fault log.
The product development client 135 may be configured to provide a computing platform where product development team members develop solutions for existing faults with currently released software and/or products as well as develop new software and/or products. One of the product development clients 135 may be configured to send a software release update to the customer support server 145. The software release update may contain information such as a tracking number (e.g., version number), device, application notes, i.e., what faults are corrected by the software release when a software release is about to be released to the users.
The customer support client 140 may be configured to provide a computing platform to assist customer support team members to assist supported users with faults, questions or issues. More specifically, the customer support client 140 may, among other things, execute a client version of a software advisor module 150. The software advisor module 150 may be configured to provide an interface to the server software advisor 155. The server software advisor 155 may be configured to analyze a fault log of a selected device and automatically determine the appropriate software releases based on the faults in the fault log.
The customer support server 145 may be configured to provide services to the customer support clients 140. The services may include applications needed by the customer support team members, data, etc. The customer support server 145 may also execute an instance of a server software advisor 155, as illustrated in
As shown in
The database 305 may also be configured to receive queries from the customer support clients 140. More particularly, a supported user may call the customer support team member at a customer support client 140. The customer support team member may assist the supported user, among other things, to resolve any errors or defaults the supported user may have received. The customer support team member may retrieve a fault log from the selected device or from the database 305, which may receive and store periodic fault logs from supported devices 120. Accordingly, a database engine (not shown) may generate an analysis result 320 based on the fault log 310 input. The analysis result 320 may provide a listing of any relevant software releases associated with the faults listed in the fault log 310. Thus, the customer support team member may assist the user by ensuring that the user has the latest updated software.
As shown in
As shown in
As shown in
In step 610, the customer support team member may retrieve the fault log for the selected device 105. In some embodiments, the customer support team member may query the selected device 105 for the recent fault log using SNMP or HTTP protocols. Alternatively, the selected device 105 may periodically transmit its fault log to the database 305. Accordingly, the customer support team member may receive the fault log from the database 305.
In step 615, the customer support team member may formulate a query with the data from the fault log and submit to the server software advisor 155. The server software advisor 155 may then analyze the inputted faults with the faults stored in the database 305, in step 620.
In step 625, the server software advisor 155 may output a result showing any relevant software releases for the inputted faults. More specifically, the server software advisor 155 may generate a user interface at a customer support client 140 that displays this information as shown in
As shown in
Certain embodiments may be performed as a computer program. The computer program may exist in a variety of forms both active and inactive. For example, the computer program can exist as software program(s) comprised of program instructions in source code, object code, executable code or other formats; firmware program(s); or hardware description language (HDL) files. Any of the above can be embodied on a computer readable medium, which include storage devices and signals, in compressed or uncompressed form. Exemplary computer readable storage devices include conventional computer system RAM (random access memory), ROM (read-only memory), EPROM (erasable, programmable ROM), EEPROM (electrically erasable, programmable ROM), and magnetic or optical disks or tapes. Exemplary computer readable signals, whether modulated using a carrier or not, are signals that a computer system hosting or running the present invention can be configured to access, including signals downloaded through the Internet or other networks. Concrete examples of the foregoing include distribution of executable software program(s) of the computer program on a CD-ROM or via Internet download. In a sense, the Internet itself, as an abstract entity, is a computer readable medium. The same is true of computer networks in general.
While the invention has been described with reference to the exemplary embodiments thereof, those skilled in the art will be able to make various modifications to the described embodiments without departing from the true spirit and scope. The terms and descriptions used herein are set forth by way of illustration only and are not meant as limitations. In particular, although the method has been described by examples, the steps of the method may be performed in a different order than illustrated or simultaneously. Those skilled in the art will recognize that these and other variations are possible within the spirit and scope as defined in the following claims and their equivalents.
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|Dec 22, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: XEROX CORPORATION, CONNECTICUT
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:THRESH, DONALD;REEL/FRAME:018673/0393
Effective date: 20061222
|Feb 14, 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4